Admiral Isoroku Yamamoto, Japanese Navy, (1884-1943)

Isoroku Yamamoto was born in 1884. His original family name, Takano, was changed through adoption. Graduated from the Japanese Naval Academy in 1904, he was wounded in action during the Russo-Japanese War. Yamamoto attended the Japanese Navy's Staff College during the "teens" and later studied at Harvard University. As a Captain, he served as Naval Attache to the United States in 1925-28. In the late 1920s and during the 1930s, he held a number of important positions, many of them involved with Japanese naval aviation.

Admiral Yamamoto commanded the Combined Fleet before the outbreak of the Pacific War and during its first sixteen months. He was responsible for planning the attack on Pearl Harbor and most other major operations during this time. His scheme for eliminating the U.S. fleet as a major opponent led to the June 1942 Battle of Midway, in which the Japan lost naval superiority in the Pacific.

Despite Midway's adverse outcome, Yamamoto continued as Combined Fleet commander through the following Guadalcanal Campaign, which further depleted Japan's naval resources. While on an inspection tour in the Northern Solomon Islands, he was killed in an aerial ambush by U.S. Army Air Force planes on 18 April 1943. Isoroku Yamamoto was posthumously promoted to the rank of Admiral of the Fleet.

This page features selected views concerning Admiral Isoroku Yamamoto.

Click photograph to prompt larger view.

Photo #: NH 63430

Admiral Isoroku Yamamoto
, Imperial Japanese Navy

Portrait photograph, taken during the early 1940s, when he was Commander in Chief, Combined Fleet.

Original photograph was in the files of Rear Admiral Samuel Eliot Morison, USNR.

U.S. Naval History and Heritage Command Photograph.

Online Image: 91KB; 595 x 765 pixels

Photo #: NH 79462-KN (Color)

Admiral Isoroku Yamamoto
, Imperial Japanese Navy

Official portrait, by Shugaku Homma, 1943.

U.S. Naval History and Heritage Command Photograph.

Online Image: 64KB; 420 x 765 pixels

Photo #: NH 78628

Captain Isoroku Yamamoto
, Japanese Navy, (left)
U.S. Secretary of the Navy Curtis D. Wilbur (right)

Photographed at the Navy Department, Washington, DC, circa 1925-28, while Capt. Yamamoto was serving as Japanese Naval Attache to the U.S.

Photograph received from the U.S. Embassy, Tokyo, Japan, 1973.

U.S. Naval History and Heritage Command Photograph.

Online Image: 71KB; 740 x 580 pixels

Photo #: NH 96118

Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, Arlington National Cemetary, Arlington, Virginia

Japanese Vice Admiral Osami Nagano lays a wreath at the tomb, circa 1927.
At the right end of the Japanese delegation is the Naval Attache to the United States, Captain Isoroku Yamamoto. The U.S. Navy officer standing hatless just behind them is Lieutenant Commander Paulus P. Powell, Aide to VAdm. Nagano during this visit.

Collection of Rear Admiral Paulus P. Powell.

U.S. Naval History and Heritage Command Photograph.

Online Image: 105KB; 740 x 530 pixels

Photo #: USAF 11462 AC

Death of Japanese Admiral Isoroku Yamamoto

Painting by Sergeant Vaughn A. Bass, of the 4th Air Force Historical Section, based on information provided by Lieutenant Colonel Thomas G. Lanphier, Jr.
It depicts then-Captain Lanphier's P-38 "Lightning" fighter shooting down a "Betty" bomber that was carrying Admiral Yamamoto. Another P-38 is attacking one of the "Zero" fighters that formed the Admiral's escort. This action took place near Kahili, Bougainville, on 18 April 1943.

U.S. Air Force Photograph.

Online Image: 101KB; 595 x 765 pixels

Reproductions may be available through the National Archives


For higher resolution images see: Obtaining Photographic Reproductions

To the best of our knowledge, the pictures referenced here are all in the Public Domain, and can therefore be freely downloaded and used for any purpose.

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